The jet carrying Barack Obama had a near fatal malfunction to its controls

Sabotage?

This was not Obama’s regular campaign plane, which is being overhauled. It was a loaner, having previously been used by Sen. Hillary Clinton. — ABC News 07/08/08

The FAA has launched an investigation.

Someone has a bout of high anxiety tonight. An emergency slide discharged from the plane.

What are the odds?

UPDATE: 08/15/08

It is reported that rescue crews were on alert for a crash landing of Obama’s plane. This was a serious incident.

The airplane carrying Barack Obama made a safe, unscheduled and precautionary landing in St. Louis today after a flight control problem arose en route from Chicago to Charlotte, N.C.

The plane experienced a problem maintaining the proper pitch, or control over keeping the nose at the necessary angle, as it was taking off from Chicago, the pilot said.

“I just thought we’d spice things up a little bit today,” Obama said, smiling and joking.

The Illinois senator and a small entourage eventually left the plane and the tarmac to wait out the maintenance at a local hotel; the North Carolina trip was postponed until a future date.

Upon takeoff from Chicago, passengers had felt the plane dip briefly, causing a stomach-rolling sensation as if being in a roller coaster, but the unexpected movement did not cause visible alarm for the frequent fliers on the plane.

About an hour later, reporters among the 44 passengers on board were made aware of the problem. A flight attendant, who was clearing the aisles, told reporters the plane wasn’t heading to North Carolina as planned.

Minutes later, Obama spokeswoman Linda Douglass came to the back of the plane to inform reporters of a “minor little problem with the airplane” and said the plane would make a precautionary landing in St. Louis.

Then, the pilot came on the overhead speaker and provided more details.

“We detected a little bit of controllability issue in terms of our ability to control the aircraft in the pitch, which is the nose up and nose down mode,” announced the pilot, whose name was not released in accordance with Midwest policy.

“Anytime a pilot says something’s not working the way it’s supposed to, then you make sure you tighten your seat belt,” Obama said. “Everything seemed under control. The pilots knew what they were doing.”

Obama’s campaign charter hasn’t made a precautionary landing before.

“This is a first,” he said, and then returned to the front of the plane to confer with staffers. The passengers were told to get into the “brace position” meaning sitting with a pillow on top of their head with the head between their legs.

What was that Hillary said about anything could happen before the convention?


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2 thoughts on “The jet carrying Barack Obama had a near fatal malfunction to its controls

  1. Campaign finance

    Last month he announced that he would be rejecting public financing for his campaign, and would instead rely on private donations.

    The McCain camp accused Mr Obama of “going back on his word”, although Mr Obama insisted that he had never made a promise to stay in the public finance system.

    Surveillance programme

    Mr Obama also raised eyebrows when he announced that he would not be opposing a bill going through Congress giving immunity to telephone companies involved in the Bush administration’s controversial warrantless wiretap programme.

    His decision angered many of his supporters on the left, who accused him of going back on his 2007 pledge “to support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies”.

    Gun control

    When the Supreme Court decided to overturn Washington DC’s handgun ban, Mr Obama declared that the ruling “provide[d] much-needed guidance”, despite having previously argued (in a written answer that he says was drafted by an aide and which he had not approved) that the ban was constitutional.

    Iraq

    Withdrawing troops from Iraq has long been one of the central planks of Mr Obama’s campaign, and was something that set him apart from other Democratic candidates running for the party’s presidential nomination.

    Since his campaign began, however, conditions in Iraq have changed, violence has reduced, and some commentators have suggested that Mr Obama’s position is out of date.

    Mr Obama himself has announced that he plans to visit Iraq, where he will make “a thorough assessment” which could lead him to “refine” his policy.

    Some critics have seized on this as an indication that Mr Obama is laying the groundwork for a change in position.

    Free trade

    Mr Obama recently hinted to Fortune magazine that his strong anti-free trade rhetoric during the primaries may not be reflected in his actual trade policy should he become president.

    His remarks are a neat summation of the pressures and temptations that lead politicians to shift their positions during the process of running for office.

    “Sometimes during campaigns the rhetoric gets overheated and amplified,” he said.

    “Politicians are always guilty of that, and I don’t exempt myself.”

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